Tag Archives: Life

~नमक स्वाद अनुसार~


कभी मम्मी कह दे कि आज  ज़रा और  पढ़ लो, Exam नज़दीक आ रहे हैं।  तो लो ! पढाई वहीँ ठप  हो जाती; बड़ा ठेस पहुँचता स्वाभिमान को। अगले दिन सुबह के  तीन बजे, आँखें मलती हुई , गुनगुनाकर , नींद से लड़कर पढ़ती। Mummy  पानी पीने  के लिए  उठकर देखती और कहती, “इतनी भी क्या पढ़ाई ! पागल हो जाओगी !” फ़िर तो ! नींद गायब और चार घंटों  धुआँधार  पढ़ाई  शुरू !
 
उसे आदत  नहीं थी  कि कोशिश में उसकी कभी कोई कमी रह जाए। चाहे painting बनाने में हो, लोगों से मीठी बातें करने में या किताबों  में डूब कर अपने कल  का सपना देखने में। आस- पड़ोस  का आदर्श कहलाना, सबकी नज़रों में अपनी गरीमा  बनाये रखने  में… उसे खुद पर काफ़ी ग़ुरूर था।  अच्छाई की इतनी गंदी  आदत लगी थी उसको , की किसीसे न बुरा बोल पाती और न ही सेह पाती।  ख़ैर आदत भी अति ही थी। … 
 
वक़्त के पहिये पलटते गए,  किताबों  की भीड़ में टहलती -खोती , खोजती – ग़ुम होती। …अपने  राह कुछ चुने,  कुछ  बनाए ।  पर कोशिश हमेशा जारी रहती। 
 
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बावजूद इसके कोई खुश न था ! कभी बिंदी का आकार छोटा लगता , तो कभी हाथों में कँगन कम दिखते , कभी बहुत बातूनी लगती , तो कभी “चाय बनाने के लिए भी आलसी “… 
रसोई कभी आयी नहीं थी उसको।  अब आने की कोशिश पूरी थी।  डर और खुद पे भरोसे की कमी…कोशिश जितनी ही गहरी थी । 
 
पिछले कुछ सालों में कोशिश कुछ कम पड़ रही थी, शायद ; चाहे कितना भी जान लगा दे वो।  हर बार उसके कोशिश की मुलाकात किसी के सलाह से, मज़ाक से , नुस्खों से या फिर तानों से होती।
 
ग़ुरूर क्या ? यहाँ  हर सुबह अपने स्वाभिमान को टटोलती।  
 
“तुम कोशिश करोगी, तो कर पाओगी।  ये इतनी बड़ी चीज़ तो है नहीं। चलो आज की सब्ज़ी तुम अकेले बना लो। देखते हैं। ”  
 
हर दो मिनट में उसके एक चमच मसाले के बाद माँ  स्वाद चखती।  “अरे और ज़रा सा डलेगा शायद … अरे ये तोह तेज़ डल गया… ज़रा सा ध्यान देना ज़रूरी है। …”  हमेशा वो उससे भी सतर्क रहते, कि कहीं गलती से भी उससे गलती न हो जाये। 
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कहाँ वो यहाँ ज़िन्दगी अपनाने चली थी ! यहाँ तोह उसकी गलती भी उसकी अपनी नहीं हो सकती थी ! 
 
सलाह इतने सलीक़े से आते, की कब घाव कर निकल गए, किसीको पता भी नहीं चलता। हर बार वह कहती , “जी माँ , सही बताया आपने।  अगली बार फ़िर  कोशिश करती हूँ, पूरे मन से ।” कई बार तो इतना मुस्कुरा कर कहती कि मानो , किसीने मुसकान  को चेहरे पे  Fevicol से चिपकायी हो।   
 
मन!? मन तो दद्वं  में ऐसे उलझा होता , रोज़ खुद से ये कहता, ” तुम कह क्यों नहीं देती उनसे ? तुम सेह क्यों लेती हो हमेशा ? तुम्हारी कोशिश कुछ कम नहीं थी… बल्कि उनकी कोशिश पूरी है, की तुम्हारी कोशिश को नकार दें !”
 
“कब बोलना सीखेगी अपने लिए !?! बस कह डालो।  कि तुम्हें चुभती हैं ये 108 नुस्ख़े उनके…की तुम्हें भी तकलीफ़ होती है … “
 
रात भर उसकी अच्छाई -बुराई  उसके मन में जंग लड़ लेते।  और शहीद होती तो उसकी नींद, उसका सुकून। काग़ज़ पर लिख कर, Book Shelf  पर चिपकाकर वो सो जाती , ” लेहरों से डरकर नौका पार नहीं होती।  कोशिश करने वालों की कभी हार नहीं होती।  “
 
महीने बीत जाते  और उसकी कोशिश हमेशा कम पड़ जाती।  कभी चाय में चीनी कम  तो कभी सब्ज़ी में नमक ज़्यादा पड़ जाती। … 
 
फ़िर एक दिन , धैर्य हार मान लेता है।  कोशिश करने सी ही इनकार कर देता है। 
 
कमरे में चेहरा पोछते हुए इक खाली पन्ने पर वह लिखती , ” अति का भला न बोलना , अति की भली न चुप।  अति का भला न बरसना, अति  की भली न धूप ” इस काग़ज़ को पुराने वाले के ऊपर चिपकाती। महीनों तक वो उस काग़ज़  को पढ़ती… अपने रूह में उन शब्दों की सेना बनती। और कमरे से बहार निकलते ही उस सेना को भूला देती। 
 
रसोई से प्रेशर कुकर की सीटी और माँ की पुकार ,अब खाना लगाने की सलाह दे रहे थे।  नमक की डिबिया को वह मेज़ पर रख लेती- आज उसे मालूम था की सब्ज़ी में नमक कम था। आज तक न नमक उसका, न फ़ैसले उसके, न ही गलती ही उसकी हो पायी थी।  सब कुछ तो बस सलाह था !
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खाना खाते खाते दो चार सलाह और मिल गए थे , “Recipe Book में जैसा लिखा हो , बस उतना भी कर लेने से ठीक बन जाता है। कोई बात नहीं , अगली बार कर लेना। …” 
 
इस बार “कोई बात” ज़रूर थी।  इस बार सालों से सुना हुआ “अगली बार ” , कानों से गुज़र कर दिल पे नहीं , स्वाभिमान पे लगा था । 
 
Recipe book  की और झाँकती , उसकी मुस्कान अब Fevicol  वाली न थी। अपने कटोरे की सब्ज़ी में नमक डाल कर उसने नमक की डिबिया उनके ओर  बढ़ाई ….. आवाज़ में उसकी, गरीमा  लौट आयी थी…  
 
“माँ जी।  में नहीं कह रही हूँ। आपके Recipe Book में लिखा है , ‘नमक स्वाद अनुसार’ ! “
 
किसीके गले से निवाला उतरा नहीं और वो सुकून से अपना खाना ख़तम कर, थाली रसोई में रख, हाथ धोकर अपने कमरे में चली गयी। 
अपने डायरी के पहले पन्ने पर, भगवान् के नाम के नीचे, बड़े बड़े अक्षरों से लिखा , “नमक स्वाद अनुसार ” … 
 
और हँस पड़ी। 
PS: Excerpts of the two poems cited above are from Harivansh Rai Bachchan’s ‘Koshish karne waalon ki kabhi haar nai Hoti’  and from Kabir Das ke Dohe, respectively.
The characters bear no resemblance to the author, yet they bear all resemblance to all the women out there, who juggle with their aspirations in life and struggle with their rites of passage in marriage.
And one fine day, become the Namak Halal/ Haram (depending on whom they bear allegiance to ) and say it aloud, “Namak Swaad Anusaar”
Peace.
🙂

THE LOSER?


When someone has nothing to lose, she becomes capable of everything to gain. So the world should beware and watchout, whether what it wants to snatch out is already snatched away.
Robbing a soul of its last morsel of hope, has the capability of creating a shadow that does not fear light, a silhouette that does not fear night.
Just when the world thinks it has taken all,
made you powerless,
bent you to your knees-
It sees!

It has not made you powerless.
It has made you fearless.
Fearless- of even losing fear…

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Who decides whether power overpowers fear or fear threatens power?
Who decides who is the loser?
Who decides whether there ever was anything to lose?
Yes the Loser, who will never lose again…

Who? She? She’s a Housewife.


She wakes up at dawn,
Relinquishing her yawn.
Slips out of the blankets,
No sounds from her trinkets.

So that she doesn’t disturb your sleep.
She would choke her giggles and quieten her weep.

She prepares the breakfast,
and bites the crumbs at last.
“Parantha again!”, she hears you blast.

She’s forgotten she likes Ginger tea.
She’s forgotten who is she.

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She warms the water for you to bath.
She warms her heart to endure your wrath.
Chooses your clothes, presses them hard.
If at all that will make you glad.

She turns the newspaper
and you snatch it from her hands.
She doesn’t know what’s inside her,
Why may she worry about unknown lands!

She goes to the grocer, the laundry and the milkman.
With you in your office.
she can no more stay a “woman”.

But you will return soon
and show her her right place.
She wouldn’t mind,
She has learnt to accept fate with grace.

Dressed like a maid,
Turmeric tempered hands,
Garlic smelling fingers,
hot oil burnt palms.

You feel ashamed that she stinks of sweat.
Messy, untidy and wet.
Wait!
She will take time to match your attire.
She has burnt her identity in the kitchen fire.

the house-wife

She cooked your favourite dish today.
Just ignore if its salty and please say,
This tastes so good you know.
And she can crumple all her dignity beneath your ego.

Hobby? She can’t have those,
kids and hubby she can.
Who question her intellect,
bully her for “trying to be a man“.

She has all the time in the world for you.
You can watch the NEWS for hours in lieu.
“After all hunger deaths in Somalia,
are more important than her.
What does she know other than home?
Nothing before. Nothing after.”

She has no Sundays.
She can never fall ill.
Just give her a little love.
that’s her real pill.

A little love

She utters her name. You don’t recognise,
It’s not your fault, you are too wise.
She’s forgotten to tell you whose “Mrs” she is,
How on earth would you know her! doesn’t she know this!

She smiles at your guests,serving them tea.
You frown at her, thinking she’s stingy.
You don’t realise she had no money with her,
“Where on earth do you spend all that I offer?!?”

On your make-up, clothes and jewellery?
She smiles.
Bills. Laundry. grocery.

Huh!
The electric bill is high.
She’s the one lazying at home.
Can she deny?

“The new curtains,the sofa and the crockery?
You buy them all,
with whose permission?
whose salary?”

Permission, certainly she needs to seek,
she doesn’t earn even a penny a week.
If her husbands’s status she wants to show.
It isn’t her own, she should know.

She starves her desires
and saves a bit.
Not for her saree,
but for your birthday gift.

She complains you didn’t do a few errands,
“Mad woman! Does she think you have a million hands?!
She’s the one who sits at home
all the while idle, she has the guts to groan!”

People say she does nothing,
but gossip all day long.
After all an “idle-mind” is a devil’s workshop,
where all malice shall throng.

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C-A-T isn’t Saaaat, It’s Kaaat“, she tells.
You know nothing Mom. Or you would have gone to offishh“, he yells.
Even that seems like melody to her loving ears.
Letting the flesh from her womb, innocently pierce-
her identity, her being into a million holes,
Such that a soul cares for a million souls…

He grows up to correct the world,
“She isn’t a house-wife, she’s a home-maker.”
But does this logic convince himself as its taker?

The in-laws are asked what does she do,
They say, “she does nothing, but a house-hold jobs few”.
The husband is asked, what does she do,
Embarrassed he sites her qualifications and says ,”she knew,
she wouldn’t be able to handle so much pressure,
Her world is her family, her only treasure.”

Her family is a treasure for her.True.
But does it consider her a treasure too?

After each fight she’s reminded.
She is fed and clothed by them,
she better not be blinded.

“What’s her worth?
A grain of sand.
It’s time,
She must understand.”

Yes.She has understood well her value.
hence sacrificing that grain of sand too.
To hide it in her womb and nourish it with care.
Into a pearl drop- flawless and fair.

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She sees her dreams through your eyes.
Knowing what if she didn’t shine,
But you must certainly rise.

She goes to the temple,
Prays for your success.
She forgets without fuss,
she too had a few wishes.

A mothers prayers

Never mind!
Whatever makes you happy,
That makes her happy too.
But what brings her tears,
does that bring tears to you?

The world points at her and curiously asks.
You say,”Who? She? She’s a House-wife.”

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To The God Anonymous


There are millions of moments in  life when you are forced to look back, instead of looking forward with a vision. And those are the times when you are made to look beyond — beyond yourself, beyond how the world sees you, beyond success, beyond failures.
Those are the times when your faith is put to test.

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It is the test of your God and not your own.

In your heart beats you are very much aware that you have asked for the comfort of palaces to a God who chose vanavaasa himself, lost kingdoms, lost his wife, sacrificed his children, wealth and well-being.
You pray for the fragrance of the roses to a Lord who was made to die on a bed of thorns by the very people whom He loved.
You ask for victory,ecstasy, and gifts to a Lord, who chose for himself thorns,sorrows and grief.

Yet you pray. Yet you put your God to test- time and again.

Being God, he has the liberty to act being deaf, the power to deny. But he doesn’t. He complies.

*            *           *          *            *

Having lost the most precious dream I ever dreamt, no doubt I am notably shaken, but not beyond repair though.

Today, I am asked for something which I donot possess myself.
I am begged for something which I am robbed of right now.
I am forced to lend something which I have borrowed from the world myself- Courage, Hope, Smile.

But Just like the Lord I pray- I shall comply.

I am happy that years of prayers have taught me- “Wealth and Well-being are ephemeral.Wisdom is eternal.”
In the quest for wisdom you would be forced to part ways with wealth and well-being, with excruciating pain.
And ironically when you need them no more, when you have mastered the art of living with wisdom and wisdom alone, when you have excelled the trick of sleeping on a bed of thorns…you would be offered with infinite wealth, infinite well-being.

But this wisdom eludes me more often that not. I am sad to choose between the three. I am tempted to have them all

I have failed miserably today, not because I have failed. But because, I have failed to stand up again and try.

I have heard people say, ” A real winner is one who is moved by victory with humility but unmoved by downfall in striking back again.

It would be a crime to deny that I was unmoved by a hopeful triumph then and this dreadful defeat now.
I am moved- to question my prayers, to bully my faith.

I ask my God. I ask myself. “why do I pray?”
The God doesn’t answer my question. Prayers do.

You pray not because you need something from the Almighty. And you turn your back not because you were made to return empty-handed.
You pray because, You want to pray.
That is the only choice you ever have.

If not, then it is like complimenting somebody for their good looks just because you want them to say, you look amazing too.

So You Pray because you want to heal yourself.

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*       *        *      *        *

Even when heaven falls apart some truths hold to be true.
Your parents can sacrifice anything for you.
Your grandparents would never say, but your sorrow shatters them more than it shatters you.
Your Teacher will consider himself victorious, if you outrun him in the race of life.
And you will be your worst enemy and your best friend for all life through.

But each one of them, you fully acknowledge, with all their strengths and shortcomings.

If I am hungry for a hug, I shall go to Mummy.
If I donot recall a physics formula, I will run to Daddy.
If I am in dire need of a piece of hope, I will ransack my own brave heart.

But then there are so many things in life which I need and nobody else I know in this world can give me…
And funnily enough there are so many moments in life, when I don’t know what I actually need.

In the quagmire of what I need?whom to ask for?where to look for?… I think of Him.
The one person who doesnot have a face; who doesnot have a resume of role-profiles, capabilities and shortcomings; who doesn’t have an address where I can appeal.

And so it is the easiest to assume– He is in every face. He is capable of doing everything. He exists everywhere.

I cannot afford to be hopeless today. I cannot afford to be a cynic tomorrow.
There is always a specific somebody for every specific desire. All I need to do is seek. Find.
And there are so many wishes, wills and whims in my heart today, that need to be fulfilled. People suffice for most, He for the rest.

Can I ever be an atheist then?
The Love for myself makes me believe in Loving Him.
And I pray.

ANGEL

*       *        *      *        *

You are scared- of Darkness and of Light.
You are scared of the Darkness because you do not know what it holds.
You are scared of the Light too. Because you know, it doesn’t hold what you need.

In the dark whether you open or close your eyes- it hardly matters. It is Dark. You are blind.
But you want to open your eyes anyhow, step out of the Dark, and turn on the lights.
But the brilliance of the rays splinter and hurt your sight. And you close your eyes again…

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So did you wish to open or close your eyes?
In life, it hardly matters what you wished.

It is then that you realize,how darkness can brighten into light and Light blind you into darkness…
How it actually doesn’t matter whether you open or close your eyes- because you always see what you want to see. And you can always see what you want to see.

You can see Faith. You can see Hope. You can see your prayers reaching Him.

*       *        *      *        *

TO THE GOD ANONYMOUS!

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I would like to convey a few things.

You have returned me empty handed. But you returned me with a filled heart.
You have shown me how my hands would be filled with your gifts someday, but my heart would never be. Silly thing! It always longs for more.
But then I like it to be that way! I shall compensate my greed with my faith on you.

And yes! Is there such a dear victory that cannot move a man in delight and is there such a disastrous defeat which cannot move a man in plight?
Is there any such thing as ‘unmoved‘ at all?
And is there anyone other than you who remains unmoved?? Despite a million prayers. Despite a trillion tears.

I guess not.

I cannot promise to remain unmoved ever.
You move me with ecstasy with the magics you show.
You move me with pain with the tricks you play.
I am very much moved by you.

And I guess it is better not trying to swap roles with you.
You play God and I shall play myself.

Sometimes I feel pity on you. How more often, you are scoffed at than being thanked!
But It was you who chose to play God and not me.

Please do not forget– You may love to sleep on the thorns, but I prefer the roses.

Thank you God- for all that you have given.
But of course you would never be forgiven for what you haven’t given.

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If Ignorance is Bliss. It has to be This!


In a country like India, a Twenty Point program is a sine qua non for all planning and ‘Pursuit of Happiness’. So when today I suddenly noticed how unhappy I was with my awful awesome Life, it struck me to have my Twenty point program as well.

Being a twenty-nothing myself, I jotted down some of the ‘facts’ I believe to be true.
And I would be utterly obliged if you did too. 😀

Because howsoever it may be a cliche,
I can’t deny that Ignorance is Bliss! 😉
So in search for that peace,
I started off this piece…

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1. I am unemployed By choice and not by compulsion. I am a Software Engineer with hardwired intent to master in Humanities. Hence a Post Graduate in Human Rights Law and a Post graduate in Sociology too. I am just a PhD away from teaching at Oxford 😛
This is frictional unemployment. Even globalization couldn’t  find me a suitable role profile to match my excellently erratic back ground! Shame on it!

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2. I have always worked hard. All that I have achieved is a direct consequence of it. All that I have not- Blame it on my Luck.

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3. I am not a cry baby. Courageous people reflect their true emotions. I am courageous to cry 24×7, without worrying about your tolerance levels.

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4. I am not fat plump. I am healthy. But If you are not convinced, you  should know..My clothes shrunk, I didn’t expand.

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5. If you still think I did! My recent increase in diameter and circumference are directly proportional to my dedication for my Husband. He cannot lose weight, so I am catching up. Indian women are epitomes of sacrifice.

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6.My husband is tall.
I don’t wear heels because they are bad for my back bone aaand I think Elephants are cuter than giraffes.

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7. I can buy clothes, cosmetics, shoes, bags, accessories… and the world. I am Rich.
But I don’t buy them. Not because the “housewife-allowance” is meager to me. But because I hate the culture of consumerism. 😛

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8.I am beautiful. I was born to feature in fairness lotion ads. But Hard work and  the Tropical Sun tanned my modelling prospects 😛

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9. I am a good cook. I like what I cook. And more importantly, I can eat what I cook. My husband eats in his office cafeteria because he is fond of fast-food more than his wife.
Sometimes I accidentally cook well mess up. It’s because while I cook, my MIL (Mother in Law) instructs, My SIL (Sister in law) OVERsees and like you know- too many cooks spoil the broth!

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10. I am not lazy.
But All I make is salad  and oats because- I like to eat healthy, Live longer. Also its the best way to censure unnecessary expenses and growing tumm
ies ( there are 5 of them, including mine)

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11. I am a master of all trades, jack of some more. Singing, writing, painting, gardening, cooking(under improvement),dancing(to my in-laws tunes)… I do it all!!
I am famous for nothing specific though, because I am yet to decide, which art I would like to be famous for.

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12. Especially, I am a prolific poet and a terrific author. But nobody reads my blog (inspite of zealous requests) because- Every successful artist is rejected a trillion times before being inducted into the Hall-of-Fame. I am no exception!

F.A.ME – Forever Away from ME! huh!!

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13. I cross the road with difficulty. But I can ride the scooter, drive the car, manoeuver the MiG and sail the ship.

I have the confidence. But so does my father. He is confident that it would turn out be an expensive affair. ( My last accident cost him Rs 25000— 5000 for an artificial tooth, 20000 for the braces. It was a scooter accident and the scale of damage was limited to one tooth. On a larger scale, with a larger vehicle and all of the 32 teeth… oops! perhaps I would rather agree than pay 32 x 5000 + 25000 !!!) 
Oh my God! I wish I were a dentist. They bite a hell lot of money on your bites! I might try pursuing that someday too 😉

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14. I am not slow- in reading, reacting, reflecting, reaching…
I finish 40 when you flag off 400 because- I am a perfectionist. I believe in quality, not quantity. Mind It!!!

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15. I am usually a silent, tacit person who doesn’t speak unless the need arises. It’s not my fault that the need arises so very often.

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16. I am an amicable soul. People don’t like me? It’s because they are Jealous! Now,who wouldn’t!! 😉 😛

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17. I am a little too angry, impatient, unpredictable and emotionally turbulent sometimes. But don’t you think it can be a Genetic disorder? Now that’s called Manufacturing defect! 😛

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18. Despite this my Parents love me more than Honey, their Pet dog.

(My nick name is Rocky and her’s is Honey. In India, 99/100 people assume, I am the Dog and  she’s the daughter! x-(  )

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19. I am not worried or desperate. This is just a prolooooonged bad phase.
After every dark winter comes a bright summer.
(and I would certainly be alive to witness it without being frozen to death! Hoorray!)
Until then I would wait and meditate.

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20. I am not Greedy. All I want is everything.
God!! Is it too much to ask for?

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